Vienna's Innere Stadt is best explored on foot, but for covering larger distances you'll need to use the enviable public transport system , known as the Wiener Linien ( www.wienerlinien.co.at ). Predictably enough, the trams and buses are punctual and the ever-expanding U-Bahn clean and very quick. The whole system runs from between 5 and 6am to between midnight and 1am. The only way of getting home in the small hours is to catch one of the NightLine night buses . These run every thirty minutes from 12.30am to 4am, and all 22 routes pass through Schwedenplatz at some point. Taxis are plentiful and fairly reliable too, with the minimum charge around öS25/?1.82, followed by an extra öS10/?0.73 or so per kilometre or couple of minutes. You can't flag down a taxi, but you can catch a cab at one of the taxi ranks around town, or phone 31330, 40100 or 60160. The most expensive way to get about, of course, is by Fiaker , one of the horse-drawn carriages driven by bowler-hatted, multilingual coachmen. There are Fiaker ranks at Stephansplatz, Heldenplatz, Michaelerplatz and Albertinaplatz. It's best to settle on the price and duration of your ride beforehand; the going rate is öS500/?36.34 for twenty minutes, or öS800/?58.14 for forty minutes.
A single-journey ticket ( Fahrschein ), standard for all forms of public transport (excluding night buses, see below), costs öS19/?1.38 from machines and ticket booths ( Vorverkauf ) at U-Bahn stations, and also from tobacconists ( Tabak-Trafik ). When you enter the U-Bahn, or board a tram or bus, you must punch ( entwerten ) your ticket in one of the blue machines. You can then make one journey, during which you can change buses, trams or U-Bahn lines as many times as you like, as long as you proceed in a logical direction without any "breaks".
If you're planning on making more than two journeys a day, you should invest in a travel pass , or Netzkarte , which allows travel on all trams, buses, U- and S-Bahn trains within the city. You can buy a 24-hour ticket (öS60/?4.36) or a 72-hour ticket (öS150/?10.90) from machines and booths at all U-Bahn stations; when buying your ticket from a machine, select the central zone, or Kernzone ( Zone 100 ), which covers the whole of Vienna. You must punch your single Netzkarte at the beginning of your first journey - your 24 or 72 hours starts from that point.
The much-touted Wien-Karte or Vienna Card (öS210/?15.26; www.wienkarte.at ) gives various minor discounts at local attractions, as well as being a 72-hour Netzkarte . In addition, you get small discounts at such sights as the Hofburg and Schönbrunn, plus selected restaurants and shops. If you're in Vienna for a long weekend and intend to do quite a bit of sightseeing, then the ticket will probably pay for itself.
Another option is the 8-day ticket , or 8-Tage-Karte (öS300/?21.80), which is valid for eight (not necessarily consecutive) days' unlimited travel, calculated in 24-hour blocks from the hour of punching. It can be used by one or more people - one person for eight days, two people for four, and so on - simply punch one strip on the card for each person in the group. To do this you must fold the card over before inserting it in the blue machines, starting with strip 1.
If you're staying in Vienna longer than three days, it might be worth buying a weekly card , or Wochenkarte (öS155/?11.26), available only from the ticket offices at U-Bahn stations. The pass runs from 9am Monday to Monday, so there's no need to punch the ticket. The monthly ticket , or Monatskarte (öS560/?40.70), which runs for a calendar month, works in much the same way. Note that none of the passes are valid on night buses , for which you must buy a separate ticket on the bus costing öS15/?1.09.
The Viennese being a law-abiding bunch, there are few ticket inspectors , but if you are caught without a valid ticket or pass, you'll be handed an on-the-spot fine of öS560/?40.70 (on top of the appropriate fare).
The U- and S-Bahn
Vienna's U-Bahn , currently boasting five lines (U1-4 and U6), is by far the fastest way of getting around the city. Not all U-Bahn lines are underground: the U4 and U6 lines run partly on the old overground Stadtbahn created in the 1890s, and both lines retain some of their original stations and bridges designed by Otto Wagner.
The S-Bahn , or Schnellbahn in full, is of most use to Viennese commuters, though it's also the cheapest way of getting to and from the airport and is useful for day-trips to places in Lower Austria. S-Bahn trains are less frequent than U-Bahn trains - running every fifteen to thirty minutes - and are strictly timetabled.
Trams and buses
Vienna has one of the world's largest networks of trams - the Strassenbahn or " Bim " (after the noise of the bell), as they're known colloquially - with more than thirty routes crisscrossing the capital. After the U-Bahn, trams are the fastest and most efficient way of getting around, running every five to ten minutes. They're fairly punctual, though some lines don't run at weekends or late at night so be sure to check the timetables posted at every stop ( Haltestelle ).
Buses ( Autobusse ) mostly ply the narrow backstreets and outer suburbs and, despite having to battle with the traffic, are equally punctual. In the heart of the Innere Stadt, where there are no trams and only two U-Bahn stations, there are several very useful bus services: #1A, which winds its way from Schottentor to Stubentor; #2A from Schwedenplatz through the Hofburg to Burgring; and #3A from Schottenring to Schwarzenbergplatz.
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